Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageCoal-fired power plants getting brains to reduce CO2 emissions

By Karen Graham     Jul 19, 2017 in Technology
Believe it or not, but artificial intelligence is already driving a major shift in the global economy. Companies are using AI to improve efficiency in their data systems and some energy companies are using AI to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Green Biz reports that while applications using AI for environmental sustainability are not widespread, they are catching on, and the early evidence suggests that AI will bring significant benefits.
More companies are also beginning to mention Ai in their Corporate Sustainability Reports (CSR). It was found that AI is helping companies to reduce their environmental and social impact by improving the efficiency of emission reduction and data processing systems, fueled by new innovations and products.
The Belews Creek Steam Station in Stokes County  North Carolina is  Duke Energy’s largest coal-bur...
The Belews Creek Steam Station in Stokes County, North Carolina is Duke Energy’s largest coal-burning power plant in the Carolinas and consistently ranks among the most efficient coal facilities in the United States. And with its anti-pollution additions, it is also one of the cleanest coal-fired power plants.
A brain for coal-fired power plants
Boston-based machine-learning and data analytics startup NeuCo Inc. was acquired last year by GE Power, the General Electric business that makes power-generating equipment. NeuCo uses software and AI to improve the efficiency of coal-fired power plants.
In the process of making electricity, the plants burn coal to boil water, creating steam that turns turbines and generate electricity. And even though renewable energy sources are gaining greater acceptance around the world, it is still a hard fact that 40 percent of global electricity generation comes from coal.
And taking into account the need for clean energy generation and the world's agreement to join together in mitigating the effects of climate change, it is all the more important that existing coal-fired power plants be upgraded to more efficiently reduce greenhouse gasses. Historically, the processes used to remove GHG was time-consuming and expensive.
However, engineers and scientists have been working with artificial neural networks, based on the processes used in learning by the human brain. By applying the principals of learning to the complex, automated processes that produce electricity, a neural network system can “learn” or model the process.
The big advantage to incorporating neural networks into an energy company's electrical generation process is the cost. The cost savings over the long run can even reach down to the consumer. And as the neural network "learns," it can even become an asset when coupled with other advanced computer modeling techniques.
Let's look at Xcel Energy, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Xcel Energy is one of the country's climate leaders and uses AI in reducing not only its carbon emissions but nitrous oxide emissions, too.
Restrictions on emissions from coal-fired power plans would  rolled back under President Donald Trum...
Restrictions on emissions from coal-fired power plans would rolled back under President Donald Trump's "Energy Independence Executive Order"
Xcel energy reduces emissions with neural networks
When Xcel Energy was creating electricity from the burning of coal at two of its Texas plants, besides producing carbon emissions, another greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide was also produced. Nitrous oxide contributes to climate change as well as harming the ozone layer.
Recently, Xcel got some help from artificial intelligence in reducing its emissions by equipping smokestacks in its Texas coal-fired plants with neural networks, an advanced AI that acts sort of like a human brain. Aartificial neural networks (ANNs) are computer systems that mimic the human brain.
The ANNs can quickly analyze data produced by the complex combustion of coal, then make intelligent recommendations about how to adjust the plant's operations to reduce the amount of carbon and nitrous oxide emissions, all the while providing peak efficiency. These neural networks are already helping over 100 companies around the world to reduce nitrous oxide from the atmosphere.
Nitrous oxide emission drops of 20 percent are possible with the new sensor hardware and control software now installed. And according to the International Energy Agency, More accurate real-time data can be generated, giving plant operators better control over emissions.
More about Artificial intelligence, Environment, neural network, xcel energy
More news from
Latest News
Top News